Le Forum de Montréal a été le plus grand temple du hockey de l’histoire. Amphithéâtre du Canadien de Montréal, l’équipe la plus glorieuse du hockey, le Forum est devenu la patinoire la plus célèbre du monde. Le Canadien a d’abord joué sur la patinoire Jubilee. Puis le club a déménagé à l’aréna Mont-Royal et ensuite à l’aréna Westmount avant qu’un édifice approprié soit érigé. Le Forum a été construit en 1924 à l’angle des rues Atwater et Sainte-Catherine. Durant les premières années, le nouvel amphithéâtre accueillait deux équipes de la LNH, le Canadien et, jusqu’en 1938, les Maroons. Le prestige du Forum était tel que même le vestiaire de l’équipe avait sa propre légende. Les visages illustres du Panthéon du hockey sont accrochés au mur qui porte la célèbre devise du Canadien : « Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau, à vous toujours de le porter bien haut. »

By 1968, the Forum was becoming small and outdated by modern standards and a major renovation was undertaken. The plan was to raise the roof to facilitate expanded seating and to remove all the pillars that obstructed sight lines. Part of this upgrade, which took only one hundred and eleven days, was the soon-to-be trademark escalators that were clearly visible from the exterior at the Forum’s main entrance. The two main escalators crossed one another and were lit so they replicated two giant hockey sticks. The new improved Forum became home to many more championship teams and by the time the building closed in March of 1996, fittingly with a Canadiens’ win, twenty-four Stanley Cup banners hung from its rafters.

Even after the final buzzer sounded, there was one more ovation left for the Forum faithful who packed the building that night. As a seemingly endless stream of Canadiens legends took to the ice for a farewell celebration, the crowd cheered and thanked their heroes one last time, but the old building held one more powerful moment. The last to take the ice and hold the vaunted torch high was the legendary Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, a man who symbolized the greatness of the organization, the pride of Montreal and mystique of the building. The fans rose from their seats and the ovation began as Richard stood there on the Forum ice, home of his greatest moments, while the applause continued to rain down on him. Minutes passed and the fiercely proud Richard was finally overcome by the outpouring of affection, the power of the moment, and the incredible building that housed all of these memories; tears welled up in his eyes and ran down his face.

Musée de la civilisation, Hockey Hall of Fame, Museum of Canadian Broadcasting, National Film Board, Canadian Heritage Information Network

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